What Is A D.O.?
A D.O. is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Like an M.D., we complete 4 years of basic medical education. We both do internships and residencies in our area of practice (i.e. family practice, surgery, obstetrics, internal medicine). We are both trained and licensed to write prescriptions, perform surgery, and function within our chosen specialty in much the same way. The differences are that Osteopathic Medicine has a more holistic approach. Instead of just treating specific problems, we see the body as a whole. We believe that there is an inherent healing system within us that naturally moves us toward health. We support and cooperate with that healing system.
Osteopathic Medicine also has a heavy emphasis on musculoskeletal treatment called Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). This is one of the ways we remove obstacles to restore health. These treatments can include stretching, muscle activation, balancing muscles, releasing spasms, restoring movement to joints, releasing fascial or lymphatic restrictions. The type of treatment depends on the problem and the patient.
Like many D.O.’s, I use a variety of complementary therapies. In addition to conventional medical care, I sometimes recommend vitamins, supplements, or hormones. I utilize yoga, Pilates, breathing and relaxation techniques. I also often refer for massage, physical therapy and other complementary therapies.
For more information about the differences between D.O.s and M.D.s, visit the American Osteopathic Association's website.